Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Why the wheels will fall off, part 8

Lawrence Korb is the real deal -- an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan Administration who was willing to say that our Codpiece in Chief was AWOL way back when. In this NY Daily News OpEd, he explains the cold hard facts that will make the military creak to a halt soon:
Gen. Maxwell Taylor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for President Lyndon Johnson, said that while we sent the Army to Vietnam to save Vietnam, we had to withdraw to save the Army. This is where we are today.

If Iraq were a war of necessity, the U.S. would simply send sufficient ground forces there for the duration. But, since it is a war of choice, fought by volunteers, the active-duty soldiers spend a year in Iraq and at least a year at home before going back.

And the Army does not want to order a soldier to be sent back a third time. By the end of this year, nearly every active-duty soldier will have spent at least two tours in Iraq.

Moreover, since the active-duty Army was too small to implement effectively Bush's preventive war in Iraq, the administration has had to rely unduly on the National Guard and Reserves. Part-time soldiers make up about 40% of the troops in Iraq. In order to keep so many reservists there, the Pentagon has had to violate its norm of not mobilizing reservists for more than one year out of five.

Sending soldiers back for a third time will ruin the Army's retention rate, which so far has held up. Staying in Iraq through 2006 will completely undermine the Army's recruiting, which despite massive increases in enlistment bonuses is already a disaster. Keeping 50,000 reservists in Iraq throughout 2006 will force the administration to ask Congress to repeal the law that forbids reservists from serving on the active duty for more than two years.

Boy, I'll bet the Iranians just shiver in their sandals when Bubble Boy rattles his sabre about opening another Wars R Us franchise in their neighborhood.


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